City Provides $37.5K for Housing Study

The city of Ann Arbor will be contributing $37,500 from the affordable housing trust fund to support a housing needs assessment to be conducted by Washtenaw County. City council action came at its June 16, 2014 meeting.

The council deliberations included discussion of the policy on eligible expenditures from the fund – which some councilmembers felt should be restricted to capital expenditures for affordable housing units. However, the current policy allows for funding of analysis and feasibility studies.

A bid by Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) to draw the money from the general fund instead of the affordable housing trust fund failed on a 5-6 vote, getting support only from Kunselman, Jack Eaton (Ward 4), Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5), Mike Anglin (Ward 5), and Sumi Kailasapathy (Ward 1).

The Ann Arbor DDA had approved the same amount of funding as the city at its meeting last week, on June 4, 2014. Money from the city and DDA is being considered as “up to” amounts. Mary Jo Callan, director of the county’s office of economic and community development (OCED), told the DDA board at its June 4 meeting that $75,000 from a HUD Sustainable Communities grant would be the first money spent toward the assessment.

The firm selected by the OCED to do the needs assessment is czb LLC out of Virginia. [.pdf of RFP for the needs assessment] The current needs assessment will update a report done in 2007. According to a memo from OCED staff to the DDA, the final report will “provide a clear, easy to understand assessment of the local housing market, identify current and future housing needs, and provide specific and implementable policy recommendations to advance affordable housing.

The goal for this update is to include an analysis that links transportation cost and accessibility, as well as other environmental and quality of life issues to the location of affordable housing. The RFP for the needs study describes the timeline for the work as including a draft for review due at the end of October 2014, with a final presentation due in mid-December.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron.